The cost of treating dogs for the most common medical conditions

Digby Bodenham
31 August 2021 - 4 min read

ManyPets customers submit tens of thousands of claims every year. We used that data to find the cost of some of the most common vet treatments.

Pet insurance can protect owners from some of the most expensive costs that come with owning a dog. The Association of British Insurers says the average pet insurance claim is over £700 and we paid out more than £7m in total last year.

Even standard procedures such as fixing up a cut can cost more than owners expect. The average claim for a wound is £371 but costs can vary dramatically depending on the size of the wound, the breed being treated and where the vet is.

Vets in cities and the south east tend to charge more than vets in the rest of the country because their costs are higher.

The most expensive claim we paid last year was £14,086 for a Springer Spaniel with fluid in its chest cavity.

Find out more about the factors that affect the price of vet treatment and pet insurance.

The payments we reference are for individual claims and it’s worth remembering that owners may need to claim multiple times a year or throughout a pet’s life for the same or related conditions.

Here are some of the most common claims.

Medical conditionAverage claim payout
Digestive upset£327
Lameness£403
Skin condition£195
Foreign body£567
Ear infection£169

Digestive upset

The most common claim we received last year was for digestive upset. It made up almost 10% of the claims we received and the average cost of treatment was £327. The most expensive claim we paid was over £4,000 for a Bolognese that was suffering from vomiting.

A digestive condition may need repeat vet visits or ongoing medication to help a dog recover. Owners who have insurance may need to make more than one claim and those who don’t will have to cover all the costs themselves.

Digestive upsets cover a wide range of issues such as acute gastroenteritis, colitis and diarrhoea. It’s difficult to predict the exact costs an owner will face when treating digestive problems so our figure for the average claim should be used as a guide.

Although digestive issues can affect any dog, German Shepherds and Labradors are susceptible to them.

Lameness

A limp can be caused by something as small as thorn in a dog’s paw that may not need any vet treatment. But a persistent limp may be a sign of a bigger problem that falls under a category of claims we refer to as lameness.

The average claim for lameness is £403.

One of the most common problems associated with lameness is cruciate ligament disease. When the weakened ligament is damaged it causes pain in a dog’s knee and forces it to limp.

Not all pet insurance companies cover it so make sure you read a company’s policy documents carefully. ManyPets is designed to cover the things owners need so we will cover cruciate ligament issues.

Arthritis is another common condition associated with lameness.

Both cruciate ligament issues and arthritis and can occur suddenly, in medical terms it’s known as acute onset, which makes it difficult to plan for any treatment. Pet insurance is designed to help with unexpected vet bills.

Skin conditions

The average claim for a skin condition is £195. It’s lower than some other medical issues because treatment may be less invasive but pets may need ongoing prescriptions.

And although the claims is lower than for some other diseases, in some cases treatment comes with a high price tag. The most expensive skin condition we treated was a £2,704 claim for a Labrador with Acral Lick Dermatitis, which is also known as lick granuloma.

It’s caused when dog becomes obsessed with licking the same area of its skin. It can open a wound that eventually becomes infected and may need bandages, antibiotics and even surgery.

Foreign bodies

Dogs love to dive into the undergrowth or pick up random objects with their mouths. So it’s no surprise that almost 5% of claims we receive relate to treatment for foreign bodies.

It can require surgery to remove the object, which makes it an expensive treatment. The average claim we receive is £567 and the top claim we paid was £8,127 for a Doberman that had something stuck in its intestines.

Ear infections

Problems with pets’ ears are common and can be painful for the animal. The average claim of £169 is the lower than many other conditions but ear infections can require ongoing treatment so owners are likely to make multiple claims.

Dogs’ ears are vulnerable to all sorts of issues, such as mites, grass seeds and bacterial or yeast infections. And breeds with big floppy ears like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels can be more susceptible to ear infections.

ManyPets has covered almost 1,000 claims for ear infections to help owners get the treatment they need for their dogs.

This article was written by ManyPets. We were not paid to write it but we will receive commission if clicking on a link to one of the named insurers results in a reader taking out a policy with that insurer. We also charge for advertising space so a particular insurer may be highlighted in the article and, where insurers are listed, it can dictate where they appear in the list.